I have a bit of a confession to make–in the last few years, what with the plethora of movies based on books coming out, I’ve begun to get a bit burned out. This isn’t limited to the Young Adult novels being turned into movies (it seems a dozen a year are coming out…), but just all things.
Here’s another confession…I sometimes like the movie better than the book.
Yes…its true. It does happen. I realized this as I was going through my Goodreads tags actually. So I thought I’d share my top 5 books to movies in which I enjoyed the movie better.
Gonna start with this one because I know its a controversial opinion (and one that if my co-blogger reads she’ll likely kill me for). I enjoyed this movie. Like…a lot. Its not great. Its not even good. But I had fun watching it and honestly that’s better than when I tried to read the books. Richelle Mead and I have a sordid history in which I want to like her books, I try everything she writes and to date I’ve only really enjoyed two (GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS and THE IMMORTAL CROWN). So for me the fact I can enjoy watching the movie version of VA (to the point where I’ll have it on while I’m doing something else, which I only do with movies I want to hear in the background) is quite the achievement.
I first saw this movie when I was 5 years old. I’m told I adored it immediately and wanted to rewatch it. I didn’t get a chance to read the book its based on until recently, but I’m pretty sure that if young kid me had read this first, I’d still enjoy the movie more. Jan is downright whiny in the book and isn’t half as clever. Plus I think the movie handled the whole thing overall more interestingly and leaves the true answers to the audience rather than something hokey. The movie takes a much more paranormal/thriller approach to the story rather than what eventually becomes a science fiction approach in the book. Also even at five I was a Jan/Mark shipper and I still stand by that thank you.
This god damn book. Gods. Okay. I shouldn’t need to explain this, but I’ll do it anyhow. The book is, as far as I am concerned, utter trash. There is little to no redeeming features to any of the cast and while I emphasized with Daisy a bit better in the book (her obsessive compulsions were I think handled more accurately there), I hated the rest of the characters. I disliked this book to such a point that I nearly didn’t see the movie despite my love for Saoirse Ronan (it did take me almost 2 years to dredge up the nerve to see it). I think the movie does a much better job with balancing the utter horror these kids go through with what little hope they each cling to. Also Daisy isn’t half as unlikable (though that might be Saoirse’s doing).
One of my favorite Ghibli films in general, this movie does a spectacular job at handling the troubling emotions that crop up in young people so swiftly. Just thinking about the ending has me choking up dammit. The book, which I do recommend because its an excellent piece of British literature from the 60’s (which was just a great decade for commercial fiction in general from Britain, I own a huge back catalog from then in the fantasy and science fiction categories oddly enough), is dated. You can tell. There’s a certain lack of resonance that even as a child I felt. That said the movie does a very good job of tapping into what DOES work brilliantly in the book (that is the emotional connection) and updating it just enough so that kids today will connect.
I tried. I really did try to enjoy this book. But truly its just…all the magic of the movie, all the heart and warmth of the movie, is drained out. Vianne is a pale imitation of herself in the book and Anouk I wanted to leave somewhere far far away. Not to mention the sequels are equally as boring boring. Maybe its me, but the gentle magical realism of the movie felt more in tune with the story than the overt leanings the book forces on you.
I was going to include movies like Ella Enchanted, The Princess Bride and Stardust, but I enjoy both versions equally to be honest. Additionally The Neverending Story couldn’t be counted because the movie version barely covers a quarter of the actual book.
I’ve said my piece…can you name any books to movies wherein you liked the movie better?